April 13, 2012

a thinking love

I cradle a newborn leaf in my hand and think, With just spoken words this was first created.

That thought instantly stills my soul.

For as long as I can remember, I have loved trees. I grew up on a small family farm in Minnesota - the kind of farm where you were expected to wake up early every morning and do your part. My family lived in a little three-bedroom house built in the early 1900s. Naturally, there was no air-conditioning installed.

Now, contrary to popular opinion, it does get hot in a Minnesota summer. Yes, quite hot. I've had to convince many southerners of that fact.

I was taught at young age to keep the windows open in the very early morning hours then shut them up tight just before the sun began to intensely hit the house. Between closing the windows, pulling the shades, and turning on every possible fan, the house stayed reasonably cool... at least to our expectations. But, I vividly recall my mother saying over and over we should be thankful for the big shade tree that shielded our home.

Karen, a tree is like a natural air conditioner. Trees, if properly placed around buildings, can reduce air conditioning needs by 30 percent. I heard my mom state that fact many times.

Well, that blossomed my appreciation for trees. That, and the fun I had climbing them with my brothers.

I think trees are beautiful. I often get caught up in the beauty of a tree over the beauty of a flower. Sadly, in spite of that, I know little about them. It is an embarrassing fact about myself.

I want my sons to grow up surrounded by nature and appreciate it. I want to gently instill a lasting knowledge of the natural world. I want to give them a thinking love.

“The mother is qualified, and qualified by the Creator Himself, to become the principal agent in the development of her child; … and what is demanded of her is - a thinking love … God has given to thy child all the faculties of our nature, but the grand point remains undecided - how shall this heart, this head, these hands, be employed? A question the answer to which involves the futurity of happiness or misery to a life so dear to thee. Maternal love is the first agent in education.”  ~ Johann Pestalozzi (Home Education by Charlotte Mason, p. 2)

Therefore, I have begun to observe, record, and commit to memory details of the natural world that encompasses our property.

This children's book simply introduces and delightfully teaches facts about birds, trees, flowers, butterflies and moths, wild animals, fish, and creepy crawlies. I also want to get a copy of this book and this book for our nature study collection (well, those books and about twenty others).

I began to closely follow and photograph the seasonal cycle of a couple trees in our yard. Observing the autumn blaze maple tree (at the start of this post) and this beech tree has been a great way to launch my quest.

Next year, when the boys are slightly older (and I, hopefully, slightly wiser), we will begin collecting samples from the trees to record in our nature study book. I can hardly wait!
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Other finds during our recent nature walks...

Watching a flower bud open over a couple of days...


“...my object is to show that the chief function of the child--his business in the world during the first six or seven years of his life--is to find out all he can, about whatever comes under his notice, by means of his five senses...” ~ Charlotte Mason

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